Sunday, February 14, 2010

Education of the voiceover....and of the most basic kind

There’s a lot of talk these days about voiceover coaching and education.

Voiceover Coaching has become a veritable industry unto itself with some good coaches and – as always – some charlatans. I’m not going to get into that here.

I have been lucky enough to be coached by some of the best, and I’m STILL being coached and educated. I really feel that it’s a constant process of developing my skills and taking my abilities to the next level.

It’s an education that I take seriously.

I read books, attend seminars and yes, I’ll be giving back by being as presenter at a breakout session called “Talking Telephony” at VOICE2010. I feel that it’s important to give those behind you a helping hand, just as those ahead of me have helped me on my voiceover journey.

Education is important. It seems to be a given. (Anyone else remember the Reading is Fundamental spots from the 70’s?)

So, in my continued efforts at improving my craft (and to fulfill my New Year’s resolutions put out there by my friend John Florian at VoiceOverXtra!), last week, I was on my way to a weekend Women’s Voiceover Workshop/Retreat in Santa Fe, NM, hosted by the awesome Marice Tobias. The weekend was an amazing experience, spent surrounded by a group of talented, funny and powerful women. I’m still absorbing it all. I learned so much, and am already applying what I learned.

The actual trip there, however, was, as air travel is nowadays, a bit of an ordeal. But, as my friend Barbara Winter says, when you’re traveling “DO talk to strangers.” So I did. And I’m so glad.

On the Newark to Houston leg, I was having some issues with my carry-on fitting under the narrower under-aisle-seat area. So I asked the young man (Yeah, I feel old! ;-) sitting in the middle seat whether he wouldn’t mind putting his smaller briefcase at my feet and putting my bag at his feet where it would easily fit under the seat in front of him. “No problem!” he said. Yay…thank goodness for small favors!

As we were about to start taxiing, there were some issues with the plane, so he and I started chatting. His name is Tom, he’s Canadian. He was traveling with his wife Sarah to Nicaragua to help build some more schools in poverty-stricken communities with a Canadian charity called SchoolBox. OK…how impressed was I!

I was even more impressed when I found out that he was President of this charity!

It all started about 4 years ago when Tom was in Nicaragua, traveling around and just happened to give a little girl a spiral notebook and a pencil. At which point the little girl’s father said, “OK, now that you have a notebook and a pencil, you can go to school.” Wow. Tom found his calling.

Since then they have built a bunch of schools, given away thousands of notebooks and pencils, which in turn has allowed over 6000 kids to get an education. It really is an inspiring story.

As voiceover talent I spend a lot of time recording e-learning modules and educational training scripts. Tom’s work is education at its most basic level.

You never know what will change your life, who you’ll meet on the way to somewhere else, and what you’ll learn.

I learned a lot on this last trip, about voiceover and the power of a notebook and a pencil.

If you want to check out the work that SchoolBOX is doing, check out their website:


Legal disclaimer stuff: I am not associated with SchoolBOX. I was just impressed with their work. This blog post is not a solicitation of any kind, I just wanted to share :-)


Barbara said...

Lovely, Liz. See, it does pay to talk to strangers...most of the time. One of my favorites was the trip I took seated next to a linguisitcs professor who spoke 8 languages. I remember asking him the best way to learn a language and he said, "Be a kid." I believe Rosetta or Berlitz or someone now uses that in their ads.

Liz de Nesnera said...

Oh, Barbara, you could have been talking to my Dad! :-) He learned all but one of HIS 8 languages as a kid. (and the other one, Russian, he learned for love... my mom! :-)

Unknown said...

Liz, a beautiful posting. Thank you for encouraging us to approach every opportunity with hearts wide open!
You inspire.

Liz de Nesnera said...

Thanks Jane! That's so sweet! :-) I appreciate it!

Dan Nims said...

It may be diagnosed as a recognized malaise, but I 'talk to people' where ever I go. In restaurants, elevators, waiting in the check out line, and sometimes having a non-commercial conversation with a person at a shopping mall kiosk.

No, I am not in conversation to 'sell' my deeply felt convictions. (Ok, I do believe civilization is worth preserving.)

It's just an exchange to enable me to see others in 3D instead of 2D.
And 89% of the time, people are OPEN to responding!

Thanks for your post! Maybe I'm not crazy after all.